Library of Birmingham blog 1

By on 26/08/2009 in Blog

gamblesHead of Birmingham Libraries Service Brian Gambles with the first of a series of blogs looking at the exciting £193million Library of Birmingham project.

It’s great to have visible signs of progress on the Library of Birmingham. With so much work going on behind the scenes it feels like we have at last broken cover.

On the site initial ground clearance has finished and the site has been handed over to the archaeologists. There is a viewing platform by the REP and tomorrow there is an opportunity for you to meet the team of archaeologists and learn more about the finds.

Workshop sitePlans held in the Central Library’s Archive already gave us pretty accurate ideas as to what would be uncovered during the excavations, and so far there have been no surprises.

The excavations have revealed a former canal arm and extensive remains of Winfield’s Cambridge Street Works which was built in the 1830s. Robert Winfield was principally a brass manufacturer and the works produced items such as brass bedsteads, but also carried out metal rolling, gas fitting, carpentry and wire manufacture.

Wrecking ballMy favourite of the objects found so far is a demolition ball, it just seems very appropriate! All the foundations look in surprisingly good shape, considering they have been underground for 90 years.

Very prominent in Centenary Square, and also behind the REP, another team are drilling down towards the Birmingham Aquifer, a potential source of water for heating and cooling systems for the new library.

They are about 75 metres down so far, about halfway, spewing out chocolate coloured water as the borehole proceeds. If we can establish a strong enough flow from the ground water source, this will be a very environmentally friendly way to supply energy to the new library.

We’ve promised to make sure all the work won’t disrupt Artsfest in mid-September and the half-marathon in October – so far, so good!

Click on the link below for downloadable images from the excavation.

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